Who is Monostatos?

“Girl meets boy and Boy meets girl. Love will fill our hearts with joy.”

This quote from Act I sums up a lot of the action in Opera Otago’s upcoming production of the Magic Flute. But this blog is to introduce you to a much less loved character from the world of Mozart’s Magic Flute, Monostatos.

Everyone knows and loves the good guys. Tamino singing “Dies Bildnis” or Pamina singing “Ach, ich fühls.” On the other side of the fence, the Queen of the Night sings arguably the most famous aria in the repertoire “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen.” But who on earth is Monostatos?

Monostatos is the character tenor of The Magic Flute. Much like Basilio in the Marriage of Figaro [also played by Benjamin Madden in Opera Otago’s 2012 production], Monostatos appears at strategic moments to propel the story forward. When he appears he is a catalyst for action onstage. Isolated from the rest of the cast to a degree, he is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

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Monostatos singing while Pamina sleeps – early stages of rehearsal

A lot of his time on stage is spent trying to force himself upon a certain female lead. Poor old Pamina (Sophie Sparrow) spends plenty of the first act running from the terrifying Monostatos. Monostatos isn’t a comedian, but one finds oneself laughing at the sheer outrageousness of his character and the silliness of some of the things that happen to him!

Monostatos is challenging character to portray for many reasons. The character is angry, and resentful. Mozart marked all of his music allegro to emphasise the energy he brings to the stage. There’s no time for thought on stage. His impulsive manner of moving through the world is aggressive and balancing this with the demands of singing is at times difficult. Time as Monostatos flies by in a storm of syllables and chase scenes, but it has been a pleasure learning to juggle the many facets of performing as Monostatos. From the moment he bursts into the world of the Magic Flute, Monostatos is a firework on stage. Come to Opera Otago’s Magic flute and enjoy the carnage that follows in Monostatos’ wake. [Buy tickets here!]

Post by Benjamin Madden, Monostatos 

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